Mashable reports that Google has delayed the launch of its supposed social networking feature until spring 2011, possibly slated for sometime in March or April. Previously the launch was estimated for a Q4 2010 release.
Called "Google Me," it was originally believed to be full-fledged social networking entity similar to Facebook and Myspace. However Google CEO Eric Schmidt hushed rumors by stating that social networking features would be integrated into current Google core products rather than launched a dedicated website.
"If you think about it, it’s obvious," he said. "With your permission, knowing more about who your friends are, we can provide more tailored recommendations. Search quality can get better."
There seems to be no real evidence of why Google is delaying the social features. Mashable speculates that it's due to a disagreement on the design, purpose and execution of the project. One unnamed source claims that the whole project is disorganized, littered with "too many different teams working in parallel or in conflict."
The Google Me project has been kept under tight wraps since it was first revealed earlier this year, led by Vic Gundotra, a VP of engineering and one of the company's many public voices. Still, as Mashable points out, the mere threat of a Google social network caused Facebook to go into a 60-day lockdown so that it could get new features like Facebook Messages, Facebook Groups and more out the door.
As for an official comment on the Google Me delay, the search engine giant had nothing new to add. "We’re always experimenting with new ways to improve our products, and we have already confirmed that we are focused on incorporating social elements across Google," a Google spokesperson said. "But we have nothing new to announce at this time."
Perhaps we'll hear more about Google Me after the New Year.